Fraudulent Unemployment Claims Are On The Rise – How Asset HR Can Help Your Employees Protect Themselves

Imagine submitting an application for unemployment benefits, but you are promptly denied because you are already receiving them. Alternatively, you receive a notification from your state’s unemployment department notifying you that you have applied for benefits when you are still gainfully employed. It sounds like a horrifying fever dream, only it is happening to thousands of Americans across the country as international crime rings exploit an outdated and increasingly overwhelmed system. Unemployment departments across the country are contending with millions of applications to review, overworked government officials, old computer systems, and efforts to get out-of-work Americans the aid they need on time.

Fraud claims are so severe in Washington that state officials have temporarily suspended their unemployment program after unveiling $1.6 million in fraud. A Secret Service memo suggested that Washington was a particular target because of its generous benefits. Security journalist Brian Krebs reported that bank investigators believe a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring are the culprits. Regardless, other states are being targeted including Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Wyoming, and even Minnesota.

According to Minnesota’s unemployment department, over 5,000 fraudulent unemployment claims were filed in June alone. A spokesman for Minnesota DEED said, “We’ve seen an uptick in activity as bad actors try to take advantage of expanded benefits available under the CARES Act.” The state unemployment department claims they have caught 95% of fraudulent attempts – even before people reported it.

Fraudsters arm themselves with a wealth of personal information that enables them to navigate benefits systems and evade detection. On the flip side, victims of unemployment theft are now facing a red tape nightmare. With state offices lagging behind processing applications, victims are encountering difficulties getting in touch with their agency to request an investigation into an ID theft incident.

There is not a clear path for Americans to combat unemployment ID theft, or to recover from it. Filing for unemployment benefits doesn’t trigger a credit check, meaning requesting a credit freeze will not stop it and credit monitoring won’t alert victims. In addition, there is no way for victims to check if their personal information was used to apply for government benefits or credentials. Instead, victims must go through the painstaking and time-consuming task of contacting each agency to work through the issue.

Recovering from identity theft like this can cause financial setbacks for your employees that take years to resolve. As a complimentary service to you, our team at AssetHR offers a free seminar with a cyber crime expert to highlight the 6 things most people can do to protect themselves from identity theft. We also cover what to do if your identity is stolen.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can bring this free seminar to your employees as a lunch and learn or a digital event, please connect with Chris Kelly directly:

ckelly@assethr.com
952-746-9508

AssetHR Welcomes David Rott as Chief Financial Officer!

Rott brings 25 years of financial management experience to lead AssetHR into new phase of growth

AssetHR welcomes David Rott as its new Chief Financial Officer. Rott is joining AssetHR with over two decades of financial management experience in the education, service, employment and distribution industries. 

“I love family-owned businesses, since their level of care strives to be at the highest level,” share Rott. “As a former client, I know AssetHR lives it.”

Rott will be responsible for developing management teams, optimizing operational performance, and overseeing the company’s financial planning and record-keeping. Rott is highly skilled in managing the efforts and activities of people, capital, financial, and service resources with a proven track record for reducing costs, improving productivity, and enhancing operating efficiencies.

More information about David Rott is available at the company’s About Us page at https://assethr.com/about/our-people/

AssetHR is a human capital management company. For more information, contact Chris Kelly at 952-746-9508.

Attracting + Retaining Talent With Culture and Benefits

Especially in these uncertain times, it’s important for companies to keep their teams aligned with their vision and brand mission. If your business is thriving and in need of an extra set of helping hands, it’ll be tempting to focus your talent acquisition process on the vast candidate pool outside the company. Don’t be so quick to overlook allstars within your own team. There’s a chance your business will miss out on standout candidates from within if you limit your talent search outside of the organization.

A 30-year study found external hires not only cost more but also perform more poorly and have a shorter tenure than their colleagues who are promoted from within. In addition, promoting from within has shown to improve employee retention, work ethic, and even workplace culture. 

Take a look at some initiatives your business can implement to help retain existing talent and ensure they’re in it for the long haul. 

 

Upskilling

Upskilling is one of the many ways you can invest in your employees’ professional development. Online learning platforms are common tools for upskilling such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, and iSolved Learn that allow your employees to progress and develop their skills at their own pace. 

Simply put, your employees need to know they are valued and matter to your organization. Investing in professional development is a great way to show your employees they are integral to your company. As a plus, due to the current health situation, many of these online education platforms are offering discounted or free courses so your team can stay engaged and productive while homebound. 

 

Health and wellness

Today, employee wellness programs are becoming more prevalent in the workplace and essential to building company culture. In fact, 75% of employers offer a wellness program, resource or service to employees. A robust company health and wellness program could include access to on-site fitness facilities, company-wide holiday fitness challenges, discounts at local healthy eateries and wellness stores, access to mental health services, and more! Wellness programs are becoming beneficial fixtures for companies because they help combat employee turnover, thus resulting in higher retention.

While your employees are working from home, continue to implement your wellness program by directing them to mental health resources, free online workouts and fitness classes, discounts on meal subscription service options, or even stressing the importance of taking personal time for practicing self-care.

 

Flexible scheduling

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 20 million Americans voluntarily work part-time jobs and even prefer part-time work over full-time employment because work-life balance is a top priority for them. Every individual has their own reasons for needing a flexible work schedule – they may have family obligations to consider, some have other passions or side hustles they wish to pursue while others simply aren’t interested in committing to one particular job or career in a full-time capacity.

In addition, a recent report has shown that employees who report higher levels of stress at work are more than three times higher if they are working inflexible hours. Furthermore, 59% of people with set work schedules want to leave their jobs, compared to only 22% of those with schedule flexibility.

As your company continues to navigate this current climate, be sure to remain empathetic and flexible with your employees. Some of your team are not only playing the role of employee but also parent, teacher, shopper, and primary caregiver for their family.

Take the next step

You’ve attracted top-tier talent for your company, now you need a premium human capital management software to help manage and retain them.

We help our clients partner with iSolved, a state-of-the-art human capital management solution that combines your payroll and human resources data, providing you with a fully integrated tool for managing your family of employees — no matter how much it expands.

With this cutting-edge, cloud-based technology, your HR team can seamlessly manage everything from new hire paperwork to payroll processing, on-the-job learning and beyond. This single source platform gives decision makers and HR leads the ability to access and control all human capital management operations from anywhere at any time — all in a completely secure environment.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Reach out to Chris Kelly to learn more about how we’re helping our clients adapt to a digital workspace through innovative HR management tools like our iSolved partnership. 

Four Strategies you can Employ to Effectively Manage and Nurture your Newly Remote Employees

In response to the developing health situation, more companies around the country are switching to remote work. Productivity applications and software have facilitated the world of remote work and made it more accessible than ever. Because 70% of an individual’s engagement is stimulated by their manager, it’s critical that leaders get creative and exercise proper communication to their team in order to best support them. Here are four strategies you can employ to effectively manage and nurture your newly remote employees.

Communication is Key

As leaders, it’s our job to direct team members towards official company information and clearly communicate policy, contingency plans and advice in a compassionate and logical manner. While the first week or two of managing your team remotely may initially feel like a welcome change, a lack of in-person contact may cause some of your employees to feel lonely and isolated.

Your organization should be ready and equipped to maintain a consistent flow of communication during this time. You can also set some time aside to shoot a quick message to each of your team members to ask how they’re doing and if there is any area where they need your support. These touchpoints can be critical in keeping everyone connected and focused on the task at hand.

Focus on Prioritization 

Ideally, you’ll want to conduct a private video chat with each team member to discuss expectations and where they should train their focus. If that’s not possible, host a team meeting to outline top priorities and what projects may be left on the backburner for the time being. Keep in mind your team members may only have the mental stamina to juggle a few projects at a time. Consider directing your team to focus on two or three projects to keep the momentum going and reduce the likelihood of burnout.

Be the Voice of Reason 

As a leader, you also serve as the voice of reason for your team. Be prepared to show up each day from a place of empathy, respect, and understanding. Go the extra mile to emphasize verbal support and encouragement with your team, and if at all possible, let criticism take a backseat in this unique transitionary period. Understand that your employees will need time to adjust, but by being a source of stability, you’ll ultimately maximize cooperation and productivity.

Establish a Routine from the Get-Go 

During this period, your employees may struggle with the new balancing act of work and home life under the same roof. Help your team establish a routine early on by outlining clear working hours, maintaining contact with colleagues and setting attainable goals over a reasonable time frame. An established routine will also help to reduce anxiety over an unfamiliar situation and allow employees to feel a better sense of normalcy.

No one is safe from identity theft!

No one is safe from identity theft. While cyber crooks may gain access to personal information such as your checking, savings, and other digital assets, your retirement accounts are not a bastion of safety from theft either. In fact, a woman from Madison, Wisconsin recently discovered over $70,000 missing from her 401(k) savings account. 

 

Someone had stolen her identity and was able to pose as her, changing her mailing address, cashing in large portions of her mutual funds and having checks mailed to new locations. The kicker? Once she was able to reclaim her account and contact a representative from her mutual fund company, they would not guarantee they could recoup her losses.

 

While cyber fraud overall is on the downswing, cybercriminals today are working even harder to find any way into people’s financial transactions. They are now training their focus on outside financial institutions’ firewalls (i.e: email). When these thieves gain access to consumer bank and retirement accounts, the point of entry is usually the victim’s email account. 

 

Cybersecurity experts advise one of the best things people can do to protect their identity and financial assets online is make it very hard for hackers to take over their accounts. Here are some tips they recommend:

  • Make sure any computer or device used to access accounts is protected by a firewall and has the latest antivirus and antispyware software installed.
  • Be careful of any suspicious emails. Watch out for fishy attachments and avoid clicking on links in emails that ask for your financial information.
  • Open and carefully review any letters or paper statements from your mutual fund or money manager and notify them immediately if it appears unauthorized activity has taken place. Investment firms often also will send letters via USPS to inform clients if any changes have been made to details like a home address.

AssetHR has partnered with IDShield to offer the most knowledgeable identity protection in the industry. Our team of dedicated individuals will do whatever it takes to keep you and your employees safe 24/7, 365 days a year. Learn more here.